Yes, it’s winter. And even the most southernmost parts of the U.S. can experience chilly days from time to time . . . which means you’re not getting as much sun, and which also means you might turn to a tanning bed
to keep that sun-kissed look all year round.
Woah, woah, woah . . . slow down. Do you really think that’s a good idea, simply in the name of vanity? Or maybe, according to recent research, you honestly can’t help yourself. You might be addicted to tanning.The Addiction Sets In
In the never-ending quest to become “beautifully bronzed,” people who frequently visit tanning salons could actually be developing an addiction akin to that of a drug addict.
According to a new study, the use of tanning beds (even once!) changes the activity in the brain
in a way that produces joy, and over time this can develop into something much more sinister . . . and end up mimicking the patterns of drug addiction. Details of the Study
The study, which was recently published in the online journal Addition Biology
, confirmed a suspicion held by many scientists that ultraviolet radiation has the potential to become addictive. It was the first study that actually observed and analyzed brain waves in real time as the patients stayed in tanning beds.
Scanning the brain waves revealed that a few parts of the brain that play a role in addiction were activated when the test subjects were exposed to the tanning bed's UV rays. This could be why so many people continue to tan almost religiously, even after they've reached an unhealthy tan and are aware of all the potential risks and dangers associated with tanning excessively . . . such as skin cancer and melanoma
, premature aging of the flesh and severe wrinkles.
Dr. Bryon Adinoff, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, who is also one of the main authors of the study, describes that the brain reacted to the ultraviolet rays almost immediately and in turn triggered responses in areas of the brain that are associated with reward, thus making one feel rewarded for tanning. A Nationwide Threat
Over 30 million Americans use tanning salons each year, and over one million of those Americans are visiting tanning salons every day. YIKES! The fact that many of these Americans already have a dark tan, yet continue to visit tanning salons, sparked the question of whether or not there was a deeper problem that came from using these indoor tanning salons.
Just as one can get addicted to drugs, cigarettes or alcohol, someone can just as easily become addicted to seemingly harmless things such as exercise and, as explained by the study, tanning.
The study sheds light (no pun intended) on this hidden addiction, and serves as an eye opener for many people who sought refuge in the comfortable shadow of denial. If you’re one of those people, hopefully this will prompt you to visit a specialist and try to reverse the addiction before it is too late - and a life-threatening skin condition develops.